Alameda loves to party. And the biggest event of the year is only days away.

Floats, horseback riding teams, a color guard and all the other entries needed for a patriotic display will march through the town when the 39th annual Alameda Mayor’s Fourth of July Parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Billed as the second-longest Independence Day parade in the nation, the event is a tradition that the Island shares with the entire Bay Area. An estimated 50,000 spectators are expected to line the streets, either standing or sitting in chairs set up in advance along the parade route.

Cindy Houts is the new director of the Alameda Food Bank. Photo courtesy of the Alameda Food Bank.

The Alameda Food Bank has a new executive director. Cindy Houts will take the helm after the food bank's current director, Troy Gilbert, leaves on July 4.

Houts, an Alameda resident, joins the food bank after seven years of running Alameda County Meals on Wheels. She has volunteered for the Alameda Food Bank and has been a rider and fundraiser for AIDS/LifeCycle. She has also coordinated volunteers for Rebuilding Together Oakland.

From left to right: Interim City Manager Liz Warmerdam, Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese, City Councilman Jim Oddie, Councilwoman Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer, Councilman Tony Daysog and Fire Chief Doug Long. Photo courtesy of the City of Alameda.

Alameda's Board of Education has signed off on a pair of contracts for the school district's teachers and paraprofessionals.

On June 23 the board unanimously okayed a one-year agreement with the district's teachers and a three-year agreement with the paraprofessionals union. District and union officials are still working on a contract to cover Alameda Unified's custodians.

Police from Alameda and a host of other agencies wrote dozens of tickets during a pedestrian decoy sting Wednesday.

Officers issued 168 citations during the operation, which took place at eight of Alameda's busiest intersections. About 80 percent of the tickets were written for pedestrian violations, with additional citations issued for distracted driving and excessive speed.

The sting was part of a broader effort to educate drivers and reduce the number of pedestrian and vehicle collisions here and in other Alameda County cities where similar operations have taken place in recent months, police said.

Last week we asked our readers to help us continue providing news as we seek new management, and you stepped up to the plate.

Alameda’s West End served the railroads well in the 19th century. But the East End also played an important role in their history.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence local news review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

In the mid-1950s, Alameda was home to the great comedienne Phyllis Diller. Fast forward to present day and meet Alameda gal, stand up comic, activist and motivational speaker Nina G.

With morning and evening commute traffic expected to grow as the Island develops, the pressure is on to get out of the car and onto a bike.

I just registered for the Alameda Mayor's July 4th Parade R.A.C.E. (Ralph Appezzato Charity Event). This is a terrific event for everyone. If you don't know about it, here's the scoop.

The race is a 5k (3.1 mile) course that must be one of the flattest and fastest 5k courses in the country. It starts on Park Street next to the Bank of Marin, which is halfway between Central and Santa Clara avenues. The course then follows the route of the Fourth of July parade, which begins shortly after the race is over.